Askold Bazhanov

Askold Bazhanov is a Skolt Saami poet writing in the Russian language. He was born in 1934 in the village of Notozero, Murmansk district, Russia. After the Second World War he relocated to Leningrad to study in the Department of the Peoples of the North, a special sector for ethnic minorities created under the auspices of Gertsen State Pedagogical University. Upon returning home to the historically Saami lands near Lovozero township, he began writing poetry while working in various occupations: as a miner, a railroad technician, a tractor operator, and a reindeer herder. His best-known publications include Solntse nad tundroi (Sun over the tundra, 1983) and Belyi Olen’ (The white reindeer, 1996). The main themes of his poetry include the struggle to preserve indigenous cultural identity in the face of encroaching modernity; surviving the hardships of collectivization, war, and economic exploitation; and the intimate, spiritual connections between humans and the natural world. His work has been translated into English and various dialects of Saami.

  • Bazhanov
    The Geese The geese bid farewell to the tundra with heavy-hearted cries. For them it will be very difficult, no, it is not for them to bask under an African sky, it is for them to dream of the North with its snow and May showers, with the caress of endless swamps, with the noise of mountain rivulets. The North, extreme though it may be, teaches the soul to be proud. Here are the lifelong moorin...